Graduates urged to face challenges with courage and perseverance
Three hundred and fifty graduates celebrated the completion of their programmes at the Aga Khan University’s convocation ceremony on Saturday where they were urged to remember the importance of courage, perseverance and agility in the years to come. ​
The chief guest at the event, Dr Sania Nishtar, special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister on social protection and poverty alleviation, spoke to the graduating class about integrity, or staying true to one’s moral principles. “The crux of my experience leads me to believe that in order to make lasting and sustainable change you have to root your actions in integrity.”
“It has become a bit cliché but the time-old adage of doing the right thing for the right reasons is something that you must hold very dear to your heart as you walk into the real world,” she stated.
The real world is beset by many challenges: widening inequities, demographic challenges, rapid urbanization and a context in which collusive behaviours are deeply entrenched. But such challenges also offer huge opportunity. For example, advancements in artificial intelligence and pharmacogenetics – the study of how genetics impact an individual’s response to medicine – are transforming medicine and today’s graduates have the opportunity to change the world dramatically.
In his welcome address, AKU President Firoz Rasul called on graduates to make the most of their education by embracing challenges and to never let setbacks hold them back from achieving their goals.
Mawlana Hazar Imam inaugurated the Aga Khan University (AKU) Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME), a state-of-the-art facility for technology-based learning for health professionals, on 15 December 2017.
East Africa campuses to introduce new academic programmes
Jan 16, 2020
The Aga Khan University will offer three new degree programmes in Kenya from August 2020: Executive Master’s in Media Leadership and Innovation; Master of Science in Advanced Practice Midwifery; and Master of Science in Advanced Practice Nursing.
The Commission for University Education, CUE, has given approval for these programmes attesting to AKU’s programmatic growth as it seeks to create leaders in professions and communities from where its students are drawn.
AKU’s Graduate School of Media and Communications, GSMC, will offer the Executive Master’s in Media Leadership and Innovation, a unique course that will support visionary leadership and enhance capacity to discover innovative solutions to current and future problems.
“Consultations with media leaders across East Africa reveal high level of interest in a master’s level programme, which focuses on capacity building for technology, business acumen, content development and improvement, visual and graphic development, linkages between traditional media outlets and digital platforms, and personnel management and infrastructures,” said Dr Alex Awiti, interim dean at GSMC.
Dr Awiti noted that there are very few programmes offering media management education and training across the globe, despite the real need for education in this area. In Africa, apart from the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership at Rhodes University in South Africa (which offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Media Leadership), no other university in the continent offers specialised education for media executives.
“The Executive Master’s in Media Leadership and Innovation that AKU proposes to offer is designed to address the unique and complex challenges facing media in Kenya, East Africa and Africa,” Dr Awiti added. “The design of the program is informed by complementary programmes and activities offered by the Graduate School of Media and Communications.”
The two new advanced master’s programmes in nursing and midwifery will enable healthcare professionals to develop innovative, practical solutions to complex health problems from a scientific perspective.
“Advanced Practitioner Nurse, APN, roles are expanding globally as health workforces respond to 21st century health needs. As populations expand and age, governments are increasingly looking to the nursing workforce to meet health service demand and population needs,” said Dr Eunice Ndirangu, interim dean at AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. “The Advanced Practice programme we are proposing is a timely response to population health needs, healthcare costs and practitioners’ willingness to expand their scope of practice through enhanced responsibility, accountability and professional autonomy. The APN programme will be responsive to the health needs of the country and contribute towards achieving universal health coverage and the Big Four Agenda in Kenya.”
The proposed programme will be among the first of its kind in the region and will be benchmarked against national and international standards. It will foster and develop nurses who can deliver significant health outcomes for whole communities and contribute to the evidence base for approaches in their given fields of research and practice.
Pakistani healthcare simulation centre becomes South Asia’s first to receive prestigious accreditation
Karachi, Pakistan, 20 January 2020 - Aga Khan University’s Centre for Innovation in Medical Education, CIME, has become South Asia’s first simulation-based educational institution to be accredited by the US-based Society for Simulation in Healthcare, SSIH.
The University’s CIME was judged to meet the highest standards in simulation-based education by the SSIH which has accredited over 170 centres in 19 countries around the world. The accreditation means that CIME will join a global community of practice bringing the latest advances in the field to Pakistan.
Simulation-based education represents a significant advance on traditional classroom and theory-based instruction. Designed to be an immersive ‘real world’ experience, simulation, in the field of healthcare, enables medical and nursing trainees and professionals to practice key skills and techniques, using virtual reality and high-fidelity patient mannequins, in a risk-free environment before working with patients.
CIME Director Charles Docherty, the Dr. Robert J. Buchanan Professor in Teaching and Technology, received the award during a ceremony in San Diego. In his speech at the event, he noted: “Healthcare is both an art and a science. While textbooks and teachers can teach concepts, simulation-based education augments the academic experience by challenging students to apply their knowledge and inter-personal skills in realistic settings.
“The result is that students feel more confident when they begin practicing as they are already familiar with the equipment to be used and the processes to be followed. This leads to a much better experience for students and patients.”
As a pioneer in healthcare simulation in Pakistan, the 80,000 square feet CIME is Pakistan’s only facility that enables aspiring doctors, nurses, dentists and allied health professionals to work collaboratively on a range of challenging, technology-enhanced patient scenarios.
“CIME was founded with the vision of introducing state-of-the-art learning technologies to raise overall standards of healthcare education across Pakistan,” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “There are simulation centres around the world that have been operating for decades without achieving accreditation from the SSIH. We are very proud that CIME has been able to achieve this distinction within two years of its formal inauguration.”
The CIME runs over 200 simulation-based courses, ranging from basic life-support to complex birth scenarios that have improved the skills of thousands of healthcare professionals to date.
“We’re pleased to recognise Aga Khan University’s Centre for Innovation in Medical Education for meeting the highest standards in the practice of simulation in healthcare.” said Kristyn Gadlage, director of accreditation at the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. “Aga Khan University now joins the ranks of over 170 institutions from 19 countries.”
The CIME is open to students from other universities and healthcare institutions across Pakistan and is currently working with public sector bodies in the country as well as centres in Kenya, Uganda and Egypt on initiatives to raise the standard of simulation-based healthcare education.
Universal health coverage possible if nurses and midwives play their pivotal role
Kampala, Uganda, 8 February 2020 - Evelyne Amulen, a midwifery graduate at Aga Khan University (AKU), went to great lengths to pursue her education. For two years, she travelled over 600 kilometres from Karamoja to Kampala twice a week to pursue undergraduate studies at AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.
“If I didn’t get a boda boda, I would risk hitching a lift from trucks that carry marble stones. There was no space for me inside the vehicle so I would hang on for dear life. From Mbale, I would take a bus to Kampala, a journey that lasted another 12-14 hours,” she said.
Despite these challenges, Evelyne managed to complete her Bachelor of Science in Midwifery degree and emerged one of the top students in her class. She was among the 142 graduates who were conferred degrees at the Aga Khan University’s 17th convocation ceremony in Kampala. Sixty-eight graduated with diplomas in nursing, 30 with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, 23 with a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery and 21 with a Master of Education degree.
The Chief Guest at the convocation ceremony, Prof. Francis Omaswa, who is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation said, “The Year 2020 has been declared as the year of the nurse and midwife and so your graduation today makes it very special. This is unlikely to happen again soon.”
Prof Omaswa who was the chief guest at the convocation ceremony called on nurses and midwives to be at the forefront in service delivery and leadership, as part of the movement to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage, UHC.
“I am personally convinced that if this happens, with nurses and midwives leading integrated, people-centered primary healthcare here in Uganda, we will actually achieve UHC that leaves no one behind soonest, and with the currently available resources,” he said.
AKU President Firoz Rasul said the University’s aspiration is to improve the quality of life in Uganda through the provision of relevant education in medical sciences and education that will prepare youth to address the country’s health and education goals.
“The Aga Khan University’s programme to encourage teaching excellence within the University was recently accredited by Advance HE in the United Kingdom. We are the first university in Africa to earn such accreditation,” said AKU President Firoz Rasul.
Construction of AKU’s largest capital project in East Africa is underway in Kampala, Uganda. The 600-bed capacity Aga Khan University Hospital and Academic Centre will transform the country’s health system through delivery of international-quality care and enable access for low- income individuals. As a teaching hospital, it will educate outstanding health professionals and support research that helps solve Uganda’s health challenges.
Graduates applauded AKU for providing quality education and vowed to be change agents in their communities and in the country’s health workforce.
“It is in our mandate to design and create the future of nursing and our creation will be the inheritance of the next generation. In this era, we need to create education policies, systems and structures that are symbiotic and generic to our profession,” said Valedictorian Ndawula Paddy, a nursing diploma graduate.
Academic awards were presented to the best students: Bakkabulindi Patrick, a Bachelor of Nursing graduate was the top student achieving a GPA of 4.93; Everlyne Amulen, a Bachelor of Midwifery graduate had a GPA of 4.91 and Mutoni Suhamu, a Diploma in General Nursing had a GPA of 4.79.
The convocation ceremony was attended by diplomats, families of graduating students, AKU faculty and staff members.
Aga Khan to open modern teaching hospital in Uganda
Monday February 10 2020
Aga Khan University is an international university and part of the Aga Khan Development Network with campuses and programmes in three continents.
The university continues to build on its growing reputation for the quality of its programmes in its ability to undertake problem-based planning and its roles as an agent of change through innovation and research.
By Arthur Arnold Wadero
The Aga Khan University (AKU) President, Mr Firoz Rasul, has revealed plans to open up a hospital in Uganda.
The hospital will provide a wide range of international standard medical services in the country.
“The hospital is AKU’s largest capital project in East Africa. It will be a transformative force in the Ugandan healthcare. It will deliver international-quality care in the fields ranging from obstetrics to oncology.
“Its patient welfare programme will enable access for low income individuals. As a teaching hospital, it will educate outstanding professionals and support research that helps solve Uganda’s health challenges,” he added.
Mr Rasul was speaking at the 17th convocation ceremony at Kampala Serena Hotel, where 142 graduates were awarded degrees and diplomas on Saturday.
“We will also construct an academic building and student housing thanks to the generous support of BMZ, the German ministry for economic cooperation and development, and KFW, the German Development Bank as well as numerous private donors around the world. This will allow us to educate not only doctors, nurses and midwives but also journalists, communicators and teachers,” he said.
“Last year, the Aga Khan University was named one of the 100 universities in the world offering clinical medicine by the Shangai Ranking of World University to greater heights. Last year alone we signed or reviewed partnership agreements with the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary in Canada and the NOVA University of Lisbon in Portugal and the University of Washington and Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Centre in the United States,” he added.
Communication school grows
“Our Graduate School of Media and Communications is partnering with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government to offer a joint course in adaptive leadership.
The AKU institute for the study of Muslim civilisation in London now offers a duo-degree with Columbia University in New York,” Mr Rasul said.
The chief guest at the convocation ceremony, Prof Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, welcomed the plan to open up the hospital in Uganda.
He called on nurses and midwives to lead service delivery and leadership as part of the movement to achieve the sustainable development goals and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“I am personally convinced that if this happens with the nurses and midwives leading integrated people-centered primary healthcare here in Uganda, we will actually achieve UHC, that leaves no one behind soonest and with the currently available resources,” Prof Omaswa said.
Mr Paddy Ndawula, who spoke on behalf of the graduating class, asked colleagues and all those present at the convocation ceremony to pay respect to those that had passed away during the course of study.
“…pay respects to Aisha Namutebi, Alex Kinyera, Kyakuhaire Sharon, our classmates and alumna, the commissioner for nursing Mrs Petua Olobo Kiboko who passed away,” Mr Ndawula said.
The convocation had 68 graduates with diplomas in nursing, 30 with Bachelor of science in nursing degrees, 23 with Bachelor of Science in Midwifery and 21 with Master’s of education degrees.
Mr Patrick Bakkabulindi was top of the graduating class with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.93 in Bachelor of Nursing. He was followed by Ms Evelyn Amulen with CGPA of 4.91 in Bachelor of Midwifery and Ms Mutoni Suhamu, who scored CGPA of 4.79 in Diploma in General Nursing.
Aga Khan university
Aga Khan University is an international university and part of the Aga Khan Development Network with campuses and programmes in three continents. The university continues to build on its growing reputation for the quality of its programmes in its ability to undertake problem-based planning and its roles as an agent of change through innovation and research.
Mahnoor Ahmed is driven by an insatiable curiosity for the world around her. From her fascination with cloning to the passion with which she educates others, she believes that conceptual learning is the key to success as a student and later in life. Mahnoor’s school is working with the Aga Khan University’s Examination Board to offer the best academic standards to students like Mahnoor.
Kenya's first locally-trained digital journalists awarded degrees
AKU’s Master in Digital Journalism is a first in East Africa.
Nairobi, Kenya, 12 February 2020 - Ten journalists have graduated with a master’s degree in digital journalism, the first programme of its kind in Kenya and East Africa at the Aga Khan University’s 16th convocation in Kenya.
A total of 93 students received diplomas and degrees in oncology nursing, nursing, medicine, education and digital journalism at the convocation on Wednesday.
In his opening address at the ceremony in Nairobi, AKU President Firoz Rasul said the University is evolving to meet the demands of a changing world, and to deliver on its mission of improving quality of life in Africa.
“As of today, the number of Kenyans who have graduated from AKU stands at more than 1,500. From Mombasa to Turkana to Nairobi, they are leading change as educators, clinicians, entrepreneurs, advocates, public servants, and policymakers. And now, with the awarding of our first master’s degrees in digital journalism, they will be making their mark in the media sector as well,” Mr Rasul said.
Speaking about the impact of her degree, Julian Kamau, citizen journalism editor at the Standard Group said: “This course has helped open up my mind to the different possibilities in media. I have utilised the different skills acquired during the training and I am looking to better put what I have learned into practice.”
Another graduate, Kenneth Kipruto, news editor at the Standard newspaper added: “As a newspaper editor, I no longer think of the stories as just for print but for the website too. I can proudly say that thanks to the course, I can do a story for TV and radio.”
The Aga Khan University recently introduced three new master’s degrees, in nursing, midwifery, and media leadership and innovation at its campus in Kenya. It is also establishing a Centre for Cancer Research to develop treatments specifically for East Africa’s population, and will soon commence the construction of a Children’s Specialty Hospital in Nairobi to provide advanced paediatric care. Construction of the University Centre in Nairobi is underway and will provide cutting-edge learning and research spaces for students and faculty.
In his speech, chief guest Dr. Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Health applauded AKU for being an outstanding institution of higher education and healthcare delivery in Kenya.
“Your expansion of molecular imaging and oncology services in the recent past, are of particular importance to government as they provide an opportunity to increase access to specialised healthcare in this region, making Kenya a medical tourism hub in line with the country’s vision 2030,” Dr Aman said.
A total of 93 graduates were awarded degrees and diplomas in various disciplines: 12 graduated with a Diploma in Oncology Nursing, 28 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 26 with a Master of Medicine, 17 with a Master of Education, and 10 with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.
Former Tanzanian President calls for servant leadership among youth
Former Tanzanian president His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa has called for decisive and servant leadership among the youth, saying that national service is essential to the unity of the people.
President Mkapa made the remarks at Aga Khan University’s 15th convocation ceremony held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam. A total of 27 students were conferred degrees: 22 received master’s degrees in education while five received master’s degrees in medicine.
“If there is one thing that I believe has defined my career both within government and outside it, it is concern for the common person. Nothing disturbs me more than to see those who have little victimised by those who have much,” President Mkapa said.
He referred to the Founding Father H.E Julius Nyerere’s leadership style, saying he saw the importance of consulting widely and listening carefully before making decisions.
“We must put the monarchical style of leadership behind us. Its time has passed. Our country is diverse and pluralistic, and our world is even more so. It is only proper that we lead in a consultative manner,” His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa said.
The Aga Khan University has equipped nearly 3,000 educators in East Africa with new strategies for enhancing teaching and learning, which has led to better learning outcomes for more than 100,000 students in public and private schools.
In Mwanza, the University together with other agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) are working with the government to enhance reproductive, maternal and newborn care in 80 public health facilities.
Welcome, Karibu and Khush Aamdeed to AKU’s new mascot!
The University family has a new member who’s been living a hidden life on campus for two years. Following the grand unveiling as our mascot, our spotted, four-legged companion is finally able to emerge from under the covers.
Our mascot spared some time for us after munching on a keema samosa and a juicy meatball to open up on the choice of AKU as a new home and habitat.
Where have you been all this time?
I’ve been prowling around your campuses for the last two years. You may have noticed the paw prints or a sudden bulge in your ‘Something Big Is Coming’ banners. That’s where I’d be when I wasn’t in a bush or a tree.
Why did you decide to come to AKU?
I had a lovely life in sunny Nairobi National Park but I’m not like most leopards. My heritage is diverse with my ancestors coming from the mountains of Pakistan, the grasslands of East Africa and even London Zoo!
They say a leopard never changes its spots but that’s not me as I’m always on the look-out for something new. When I heard AKU was looking for a mascot, I was so excited that every part of me: my tail, my ears and even my whiskers stood on end!
It was a chance to visit six countries and see what student life is really like! I’ve never been to Uganda or London and the chance to sample some local antelope and fish and chips was another plus! Another thing: AKU is so green and open that I never miss home.
Tell us something about yourself? Something fun.
I come out green in pictures which means that people at our London campus think I’m Irish. The truth is I’m not Irish, I’m Spottish! Besides that you can certainly trust me, I’m no cheat-ah. Plus, I’m honest so you’ll never catch me li-on.
On a more serious note, like all leopards, I’m fast and always up for a race. What few people realise is that my speed means I quickly get over obstacles and I always strive to move ahead regardless of the odds. Also, I love swimming, running, and all kinds of wildlife.
You’re finally out in the open. How does that feel?
I feel like a celebrity! I’m on caps, shirts, keychains and some people are sticking me on their car bumpers too! It’s great to be the centre of attention after being under wraps for so long. Now I’m looking forward to getting my own name.
Now that you’re famous, what should we call you?
Well, some people call me a trademark, most people a mascot. When I’m around the Office of the Dean of Students, they call me a symbol of the University spirit.
Mostly though people just want to pet me rather than talk to me. I’d like a name that is as vibrant and fun as your students. Just don’t call me Simba or Mufasa, please!
Who brought you here?
You can thank the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) for thinking about me and convincing me to come here. The Office of Communications and Design Office have put up with me and even put me up on every campus and I hear that our President is also a fan.
When will we see you next?
All the sports teams will have me on their back, I’m sure my spirit will push them to even greater heights. I’ll be at all student events and, because I’m one of the most adaptable species, you’ll see me involved in everything relating to the student experience.
If you want to catch a hold of me, just get in touch with ODOS. They usually know where I am.
The University family has a new member who’s been hiding across all campuses. Following the grand unveiling as our mascot, the AKU Leopard is finally able to emerge from under the covers. Like the AKU Community, the AKU Leopard stand​s for Courage, Agility and Perseverance
The event is an opportunity to find out more about the wide variety of research currently taking place across the University.
About this Event
Join us for the first Aga Khan University Research Day, hosted by the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and held in the Aga Khan Centre, London on 26 March 2020.
Research Day is an opportunity to find out more about the wide variety of research currently taking place across the University. The upcoming event focuses on the work of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. The day will include lectures from our leading scholars, information about our publications and Masters programme as well as the chance to network with scholars and students.
During the day, presentations will address research about Muslim youth, material culture and archaeology, migration and state regulations, access to health care and water, environmental change, digital humanities project KITAB, familialism and religion in Turkey, and cultural creativity.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided on the day.
Columbia University & AKU announce a unique dual master’s degree
The MoU was signed by Ira Katznelson, Columbia University’s Interim Provost and Dr Carl Amrhein, AKU’s Provost and Vice President, Academic.
Columbia University’s Middle East Institute in New York and the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC) in London signed an agreement at Columbia University to mark the launch of their dual master’s degree.
The unique two-and-a-half-year degree brings together two of the world’s leading universities and gives students the opportunity to study a topic of global significance while based in London and New York – two of the world’s most diverse and multicultural cities.
“This partnership will foster the development of the theoretical and practical perspectives needed to understand how Muslim societies are responding to pressing global challenges,” said Ira Katznelson, Columbia University’s Interim Provost and Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History. “At this moment in history, such an endeavor is especially important.”
Dr Carl Amrhein, AKU’s Provost and Vice President, Academic, remarked that the world was changing at breakneck speed, and more than ever there was an urgent need to educate our future leaders to have a deep and nuanced understanding of issues that relate to Muslim civilisations. “This master’s degree will shape our students into professionals who can offer society clear and thoughtful insight and guidance on important and complex issues facing this generation,” he said.
At the event, Professor Leif Stenberg, Dean of ISMC, said that the partnership between “two of the greatest authorities on Muslim civilisations” represents the importance of offering broad and in-depth academic experience in this area. “Each institution brings its own history and unique perspective to bear, and students will benefit from studying in two of the world’s greatest and inclusive cities. This programme will challenge and guide our students to develop critical thinking research and leadership skills which will help them make a positive contribution in a wide range of vocations,” he added.
Columbia University and AKU have jointly developed an advanced curriculum for the programme that includes a two-and-a-half-year sequence of reading and research seminars, interdisciplinary electives, and intensive foreign language training. Students will benefit from new cross-disciplinary frameworks and tools to understand Muslim cultures in a comparative and world-historical context, equipping them to engage creatively and critically with the opportunities and challenges faced by Muslim societies today.
The MoU was signed by Ira Katznelson and Dr Carl Amrhein.​​
​​The COVID-19 pandemic is having an enormous impact on individuals and families in our communities and around the world.
AKU is on the front lines of the response to this unprecedented health challenge. Our dedicated physicians, nurses and other medical staff are working tirelessly to save lives.
You can support our efforts to secure specialised medical equipment, provide testing and life-saving care to the vulnerable through our Patient Welfare Programme, and address the needs of our physicians and healthcare personnel during this extraordinary time.
We are immensely grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement that we have received from​ all our supporters.
The COVID-19 Fund would support the following:
Providing world-class medical care, including for disadvantaged patients through our Patient Welfare Programme;
Securing specialised equipment including ventilators and personal protective gear for our staff;
Changes to our hospital and University facilities to expand our capacity to respond effectively to this emergency;
Research by our infectious disease specialists, and others, that contributes to the global effort to deliver better diagnostics for COVID-19 and care for those infected;
Support for our staff who are working exceedingly long hours, and need accommodation and other essential support.​
Read the latest updates on the University’s action on the coronavirus.​
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